Reduced in vitro anti-influenza antibody response by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMs) after vaccination was confirmed in a group of 28 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and also in 16 patients with some other autoimmune syndromes. This group of patients with SLE had higher serum anti-DNA binding, but there was no evidence of increased autoantibody production after vaccination, nor any clinical or laboratory evidence of flares in disease activity that are sometimes seen to follow intercurrent infection. Although a reduced in vitro antibody response may, to some extent, reflect redistribution of antibody producing cells, there appears to be more generalised impairment of the immune response in these patients, which cannot be accounted for by steroid/immunosuppressive therapy.
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